Bill Evans's Effects on Modern Jazz

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The term modern jazz generally referred to the musical period after bebop, when musicians begun to approached harmony in different aspect. Modern jazz was often overlooked, often defined as jazz derivation or hybrid and was influenced by variety of musicians; among them was Bill Evans. He was one of the most important jazz pianists, and remained to be one of the most influential musicians of post-bebop jazz, due to his prominent sound that made him recognizable to everyone. According to Bert Konowitz, “Bill Evans Sound is created by using chords in the left hand that often do not have the root of the chord on the bottom, as well as voicing chords with tone clusters” (198). Bill Evan’s sound was distinct and involved unique technique like chord cluster and block chord. Bill Evans was an important figure that influenced the development of modern jazz, including the progress of modal jazz technique, the re-harmonization by chord voicing and the expressivity of jazz.

Bill Evans was an impressionist piano player, influenced by his earlier age of classical music. He learned piano when he was a child and also attended Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in music (Pettinger 14). His educational background on classical music allowed him to improvised and explored the depth of jazz. As Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz suggested, "The most personal characteristics of his work were his uniquely delicate articulation, his oblique harmonic approaches and manner of voicing chords, his occasional use of the left hand in rhythmic duplication of the right-hand line, and the ability to create a warm, beautiful mood within the framework of a popular song, a jazz standard or an original work". According to Professor Harrison’s lectur...

... middle of paper ... jazz with modal jazz and chord voicing was extremely influential to the modern jazz scene. These new technique brought variations to new musicians, influencing their personal style yet also pushing them to strive for their own freedom of improvisation. Bill Evan’s contribution to the jazz world is vast and he still continued to influence the jazz pianists until this day.

Works Cited

Israels, Chuck. "Bill Evans (1929–1980): A Musical Memoir." The Musical Quarterly LXXI.2

(1985): 109-15. Web. .

Konowitz, Bert. Blues & Jazz Complete: Book & 2 CDs. Alfred Music Publishing, 1999.

Larson, Tom. History and Tradition of Jazz. Kendall Hunt, 2002.

Nisenson, Eric. The making of Kind of blue: Miles Davis and his masterpiece. Macmillan, 2001.

Pettinger, Peter. Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings. Yale University Press, 1998.
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